Yeah, they are so ho (好)…

Is it a Home? is it a Office? No, its both! Today we take a look at the once popular dual purpose property aka SoHo (small office home office)

It is a hybrid apartment for residential and commercial purposes and allows people to work and live in the same house.  Soho apartment unit usually comes with a high ceiling.

Is SOHO a Type of Property?

  • SOHO (small office / home office) is a marketing term, it is not a type of property
  • HDB flat; needs HDB approval via Licence One website
  • Private residential; needs URA’s approval via URA website
  • Must apply for Home Office Permit (one-time application fee: $20/-)
  • This is a one-time permit which will valid for the duration of the home office business. No need for renewal
  • Only for small-scale businesses (max up to 2 non-resident employees)
  • It does not refer to any specific development type under Planning Act
  • Developments marketed as SOHO are approved as either office or residential use but not for both uses
  • Without explicit prior permission from URA, any development approved for office use cannot be converted to residential use, and vice versa
  • Developer’s brand name SO/HO is not the same as SOHO
  • Salesperson must find out whether the unit that you are selling is residential or commercial and not simply jump into conclusion that SOHO is any particular type of property
  • Trade must not cause disturbance to neighbours
  • Tenant needs Landlord’s written consent before applying for SOHO

Guidelines for Home Office Scheme

Permitted Businesses

Not Permitted Not Permitted
1) Accountancy services

2) Architectural services

3) Consultancy services (business, engineering, IT, management or education)

4) Design / Advertising services

5) Insurance / Financial Planning services

6) Real Estate Agencies

7) Technology-based and

Knowledge-Intensive businesses

8) Transportation services

9) Trading office

1) Beauty, Hair Dressing or Massage Therapy services

2) Car Trading business

3) Card-Reading / Palm-Reading or Fortune-Telling in any form

4) Catering / Restaurants

5) Clinics and Pharmacies (eg, Dental, Medical, Veterinary, etc)

6) Commercial School (eg, dance, music, language, tuition centre, etc)

7) Courier businesses

8) Classes on dress-making and embroidery

9) Employment Agency

10) Funeral Chapels or Homes

13) Maid Agency

14) Mausoleums

15) Manufacturing, preparation of processing or any products and goods

16) Money Lending Businesses

17) Opticians

18) Repair activities (eg, household appliances, electrical products, footwear, etc)

19) Sales / Marketing that involves conducting seminars and talks for large number of customers

20) Shops and any form of retail activity (including pet shops)